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Salvos step up support as Melbourne lockdown reinstated

Salvos step up support as Melbourne lockdown reinstated

Salvos step up support as Melbourne lockdown reinstated

9 July 2020

The Salvation Army is providing assistance and care for tower residents and emergency services personnel involved in the COVID-19 related hard lock-down in Melbourne.

By Pallavi Singhal

While most of Australia slowly and cautiously reopens, the Victorian Government has renewed stage 3 lockdown following a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are once again facing strict COVID-19 containment measures after a record spike in cases. Many Victorians are returning to feeling the anxiety and stress that followed the initial lockdown. And accordingly The Salvation Army has stepped up its efforts nationally to assist those in most need .

National efforts – a snapshot

Since March 2020, The Salvation Army has provided thousands of households with support in the form of government-referred food hampers and shopping vouchers, household items, EFT payments, medication, information and spiritual assistance in the Northern Territory, NSW, ACT, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

While some services have had to be adapted based on government directives, personnel at corps and centres continue to deliver care in a variety of ways to thousands of existing clients and those needing assistance for the very first time.

Support being provided to housing tower residents during strict lockdown

The Salvation Army has been working in the North Melbourne Housing Estate for several years, operating the Older Persons High-Rise Program (OPHR) and Housing support for the Aged Program (HSAP). Salvation Army teams provide practical and financial support to the community, which is culturally diverse and multilingual. Support includes working with residents to maintain their tenancies and providing a number of day programs on the estate for older persons.

With the onset of COVID-19, the team modified its operations while also conducting welfare checks on 234 older residents in the estate on a fortnightly basis.

When the Victorian Government announced and implemented hard lockdown at the estates due to the high rate of recorded coronavirus infections, The Salvation Army was asked to help with the coordination of support in the towers. Due to the fact that the teams have extensive experience and pre-existing support relationships with the residents, Salvation Army teams were able to coordinate services immediately. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is working with six lead organisations to ensure the residents’ basic needs are met, including health, food security, wellbeing checks and welfare support.

The Salvation Army is focused on the support of the older (and identifiably more vulnerable) residents in the towers on the North Melbourne Estate. The provision of support coordination is a point of contact for the residents (via the DHHS call centre) and enables the residents to have their needs met.

In addition to assistance for elderly residents, The Salvation Army Emergency Services teams (SAES) are also supporting emergency personnel and health workers on the ground. Providing up to 600 meals per day, this service will continue throughout the coming days or until strict lockdown is completed.

Emergency relief available to those impacted

Some employment sectors and demographics have been more significantly impacted during this pandemic. The Salvation Army is one of several charities assisting with coronavirus emergency relief assistance. Government funding is now available through The Salvation Army Doorways teams for individuals and families who are experiencing financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 shutdown and economic downturn.

Pallavi Singhal is Content Specialist with The Salvation Army's Brand and Marketing Department

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